5 current content marketing trends for media advertisers

By Sean Stanleigh

The Globe and Mail

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


The world moves fast. Like 5G fast (more on that later).

It is hard enough to keep up with current trends in content marketing, never mind what’s on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

It is not just a mental exercise; it is a business imperative. As technologies improve, your news media company is either changing with them or it is falling behind. Here are some of the top trends in content marketing that are emerging or coming soon. With all of them, there is still time to get in front of the competition if you act now.

Long-term influencers help brands stand out in their content marketing efforts.
Long-term influencers help brands stand out in their content marketing efforts.

1. The Brave browser and the Basic Attention Token (BAT)

With a user base around 6 million (Google Chrome sits at around 1 billion), the Brave browser has some growing to do. But it is what it represents — built-in ad and tracker blockers — that makes it worth paying attention to.

The BAT, a blockchain technology, can be exchanged among advertisers, publishers, and users. Once fully implemented, brands can reward users for viewing ads and users can reward publishers for serving up content they like. Publishers might even reward users for promoting their content.

It is time to start thinking about a potential new model of payment and behaviour. What kinds of advertising will consumers choose to view? What is going to resonate with them from an engagement perspective?

We might see the future sooner than later, as desktop users of the browser, through a third-party partnership, have the option to trade BAT for rewards from brands such as Amazon, Nike, and Starbucks.

2. Long-term influencer relations

We hear it all the time:

“We love them.”

“No, they’re not ‘real’ enough.”

“They’re more popular than ever.”

“No, they’re on a downward slide.”

Nobody seems to be able to agree on the future of influencers, but one thing is certain: They’re not going anywhere any time soon.

Like any relationship, trust builds over time. Rather than using multiple influencers for a series of one-off campaigns, why not consider a single influencer, or a small group of influencers, as an extension of your advertising and marketing team and deploy them over the long term?

Not only will this strategy create stronger brand affinity, it reduces workload and uncertainty for in-house teams. Brands can extend more creative license to known personalities, and familiarity is habit-forming, which should improve over time.

Here is a useful overview of a successful influencer marketing strategy recently published by Social Media Today.

3. Voice search

Web user habits change and they often outpace the market’s ability to adapt. That is almost certainly the case with voice assistants and smart speakers. The number of people in North America using one of these tools, at least once a month, is closing in on 50%. But, in the same way it took businesses time to adapt away from optimising Web pages for desktop as mobile usage grew, brands have been slow to consider voice search and the changes required to their SEO strategies.

A tendency toward quick, question-based queries (where is the nearest restaurant?) means your basic business information should always be up-to-date. Long-tail keywords, four or five words long, are going to be more relevant than one or two words.

Ask yourself: If I were a customer, what would I want to know about my business? Then test those phrases with a variety of assistants through phones and speakers. What results do you get? What works well and what needs some attention?

Blue Corona has an excellent overview on voice search strategies.

4. 5G: A richer social web

The most important word related to 5G service is “speed.” Think wireless connections up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks, and it is coming soon. Telecom companies and tech providers in the United States are preparing to deploy some form of 5G this year, with Canada likely to follow in 2020.

Here are more details on the definition and impact of 5G.

With significant increases in upload and download speeds, expect a corresponding boost in consumption of richer media on social platforms. Social video and Augmented Reality (AR) are the most likely beneficiaries. Those experiences will be immediate and seamless.

Particularly important for brands will be to plan for changes in how they interact with, and provide experiences to, their target audiences, particularly if those consumers are part of Gen Z. There will also be more location data available with more precise targeting, boosting the potential for greater relevancy in advertising.

Accessibility is becoming a bigger piece of content marketing efforts.
Accessibility is becoming a bigger piece of content marketing efforts.

5. Creativity in accessible design

We tend to think exclusively about improving accessibility in the physical world. It is just as important to consider digital experiences that provide equal access and equal opportunity.

Upwards of 12% of Americans have some form of visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive impairment.

Designing for accessibility does not require undermining the quality of content or creative. Rather than building for separate experiences, take into account the needs of all potential users. It not only makes for a better Web, it increases the size of your potential audience.

Accessible Web sites tend to score better search results, have faster download times, encourage good coding practices, and always have better usability.

About Sean Stanleigh

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